|The Message, Gerard Terborch, 1655|
I teach at two different institutions of higher learning. One is a community college. One is a four-year university. Since the election of Donal Trump as President of the United States I have received no less than six emails from various college administrators offering comfort, resources, and advice to help staff and students alike cope with the election results. I am not alone. All across the country classes have been canceled, exams delayed, and grief counselors summoned to support the Millennials through this existential crisis. The University of Michigan handed out coloring books and Play-doh to assuage the angst.
Here's the thing. Four years ago, when Romney lost to Obama, there was not a peep of support. There were no emails assuring those who did not support Obama that they were still a valued part of the community. There were no declarations of inclusiveness. There was no acknowledgement that members of the school community were disappointed and worried about the future.
To be fair, students who voted for Romney probably did not need this hand-holding. Students who vote for Republican candidates have no desire or expectation to be taken care of by the government. They consider themselves more self-sufficient. They see their candidate as a means to policy implementation but not their heart and soul. It is a much more rational and analytical approach. Their candidate loses and they move on. On the other hand, students who think the government has all the answers and will solve all their problems panic when they feel like the sustenance has been interrupted. Their celebrity-cult worship of their candidate is so emotional that when their candidate doesn't win, they respond like a jilted lover.
Yet what message have college administrators sent with this over-the-top outreach to Hillary Clinton supporters? What am I, a Latina female who is very happy that Hillary Clinton is not the next president, a woman of faith who is frustrated and angered by the erosion of religious liberty under Obama, a parent and grandparent who is concerned about the infringement upon parental rights by the progressive agenda, and a physician who sees the focus on costs replacing the focus on patients in current health care policy, supposed to think?
Instead of all this tear dabbing and soothing whispers, why didn't college administrators offer a simple lesson in civics. This is how elections work. You don't always win. But our government is buoyed by checks and balances. We did not elect a king. We elected a president. He cannot unilaterally rule by fiat. If you are disappointed in the election results, stay engaged and make the next election different.
Instead, the school leaders validated unreasonable fears and reinforced the idea that this lost election is a catastrophe of monumental proportions. The disappointment Hillary Clinton supporters feel is much more significant than the disappointment of Romney supporters four years ago. It is not hard to figure out that the declarations of welcome, inclusivity, and support do not apply to staff and students like me.
Dear College Administrators: message received.
UPDATE: Just in case I had not gotten the message, the director of admissions at George Mason University made it explicit.